I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been up, over, around and sometimes under Loughrigg Fell, that modest in height but sprawling stretch of hill that looks so gracefully down on both Grasmere and Ambleside.
Not the greatest height in the Lake District, but one of the best all round viewpoints. The kind of place where you can lose yourself for just an hour, or all day if you feel like it. There are so many rambles on Loughrigg even if you don’t head for the summit.
One of our favourites is to walk from Rydal to the gorgeous Lily Tarn, then around the track to Loughrigg Tarn and up to Deerbolts Wood and returning by way of Loughrigg Terrace, that deservedly popular viewpoint that looks out on the landscape so familiar to William and Dorothy Wordsworth.
Then there’s the great cave hewn from the slate industry above Rydal, wherein, Wainwright claimed, the whole population of Ambleside could huddle.
But on Friday, we set out for Loughrigg’s summit, not having done it for a few years – the last time we scrambled up through thick snow and ice.
We walked up from Rydal church, taking the lane to Fox Gill, once the home of Thomas De Quincey, who knew Loughrigg very well, walking it by day and night. I never feel I’m very far from De Quincey in this part of the Lakes. If you haven’t read his wonderfully gossipy Recollections of the Lake Poets, then do seek it out – grand reading for a Lake District holiday. The Wordsworth family cut De Quincey dead when they read this indiscreet memoir!
After the short steep bit up by the gill itself, this is a very easy route to the top, the gentlest of ascents with widening views all the way – and conditions for admiring those views were quite perfect on Friday.
So many familiar Lakeland heights, from Windermere in one direction to the Langdale Pikes in another.
Because of its central position, Loughrigg offers a great way to get to know so many places. Sit there with a map or with Wainwright’s guide and you can learn a lot.
We descended by way of the path down to Grasmere, short and easy, to Loughrigg Terrace. On such a nice day there were a fair number of ramblers promenading along its contours.
Then back to our start via Rydal Water and, as we’d only spent a couple of hours on the fell, we had a stroll through the gardens of Rydal Hall – Wordsworth lived next door and wasn’t wild about this neighbouring property.
An easy morning out, but a rather good walk.